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Was Heardís Trio A Fluke?
October 31 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Ronnie Heard has played sparingly in his first three years in the NFL. Originally an un-drafted free agent, Heard was told upon his arrival to the team, that he was fighting for a position that is a huge part of the 49ers defense. Bill Walsh dropped the names of Ronnie Lott, Merton Hanks and Tim McDonald, Heard of course was a wide eye rookie, in awe before he even hit the practice field.

And so years passed, and Ronnie played well enough to be retained on the roster. Last week, in Heardís second start of the season he recorded his first three interceptions. Heard will have plenty of time to continue to build on his career best performance with Zack Bronson out of the line up, and in that time, he will try and prove that it wasnít a fluke.

Iíve always been a fan of Zack Bronson. Even when he was a bench player, un-drafted, I firmly believed that he would be something. One season, he tied Merton Hanks for the team lead with three interceptions - and Hanks was a starting player in the defense. Heard, the second consecutive un-drafted free agent to start at safety, has big shoes to fill. His three interception game was certainly a great way to catch the eyes of the NFL. It now comes down to whether he can repeat such performances, and make the big plays consistently.

Heard is known as being one of the most knowledgeable defenders on the team. No player ever questioned whether he would know the schemes and where he should be in the defense. On Sunday Heard proved that he can make the plays too - and as chemistry builds between him and starting strong safety Tony Parrish there should be more big plays to come.

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